The North Pole is a City

BON-7

December 6/19, St. Nicholas
Archbishop of Myra in Lycia, the Wonderworker
Whose Relics Lie Principally in Bari, Italy
And Whose Legendary Brother Santa Claus Lives in the North Pole

It was unthinkable. Several years ago, we were celebrating the annual feast of St. Nicholas, and our priest confessed that there was not a single person in our parish whom we could wish a happy name’s day. My wife, who was pregnant at the time, turned to me and we decided then and there to start a trend that is all too common in other Orthodox and Eastern European Churches. Now, including my son, there are at least two boys named Nicholas in our parish. We are now more like the Greek family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding with every other person named Nick, Nikko, Nikki, or Nikolaki.

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What C.S. Lewis Did For My Love Life

50th Anniversary of the Repose of C.S. Lewis
+ November 22, 1963 +

My first experience of the writing of C.S. Lewis was through his theological and cultural treatises. He made me a fan of theology when I was the ripe age of only 14. I still have yet to read any of his famous fictional work from start to finish. But the book which made the biggest difference in my life bridges those genres of fiction, culture, and theology. I picked up a copy of Lewis’ Four Loves when I was an undergraduate in college, and it changed my outlook on love and human relationships forever. Continue reading

What a Prayer Book is For

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Reader’s Stand on Crete

I had the distinct privilege and honor to chant the vigil tonight at my home parish, and as I was singing the hymns of preparation for the weekly celebration of the resurrection on Sunday, I was reminded of a post that has been brewing for a while in my heart. Our eccelsiarch (head chanter who arranges the service schedule) recently redid one of our key service books which was in sore need of repair. He painstakingly removed the well-loved pages of a prayer book published in 1988 and inserted them, one by one, into sheet protectors and a three ring binder that now consolidates two service books into one. Seeing the highly used pages reinvigorated with new life reminded me of a time long ago when my opinionated self learned a lesson about the true purpose of a prayer book… Continue reading

September. Again.

Had our first day of school today in our newly created Home School dedicated to the Royal New-Martyred Family of Russia. It was glorious to be teaching in a classroom again, especially to my own dear children. It has been quite a long time since I have had such a pleasure, as I am by trade and calling a teacher and only secondarily a tour guide. I took a break from that calling several years ago so that I could have the energy to start a new family and to finish a seminary education. But now I am fully ready to get back into the fray, and this is so far a wonderful reintroduction for me, like the one described by another home schooler today.

The title of my post comes from a dearly loved college magazine I used to subscribe to as a young man called Campus Life. It was the caption of a memorable September issue which featured on the cover one of the most poignant scenes I have ever beheld. A single little boy in a yellow rain jacket, holding a tiny lunch pail boards a yellow school bus in a gentle, early morning autumn rain. Continue reading

A New Catholic Saint

Had the distinct pleasure to attend most of the American Chesterton Society’s National Convention at which I was the concluding speaker this final Saturday afternoon before evening Mass and the concluding banquet. It was a whirlwind of a convention covering the theme Education, Economics, and Everything Else. It was my first G. K. Chesterton Convention, and I hope that I can make many more to come in the future. I have been so long a devoted fan that it feels good finally to connect with my fellow devotees. Continue reading

A Night at the Opera

IMG_0184June 14- Repose of G.K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton

I always wondered what it would be like. In high school, I had a crazy Latin teacher who actually took all of us guys to Tosca, but the sub-title projector was broken so all that we understood of the story was that some guys were all after the same women and they were really disgusted about it. Tonight, though, my oldest daughter and I got our first taste of  well done opera that we could understand.

Every year the Boston Early Music Festival performs a centerpiece opera that is recently revived from the Baroque period of classical music. This year’s opera Almira features a love triangle involving a newly crowned Queen (Almira) and her many exotic and mysterious suitors. Continue reading

Invitation to Breakfast

Reminds me of a quote from G.K. Chesterton, also about having breakfast (tangentially about the resurrection and a living church):

Plato has told you a truth; but Plato is dead. Shakespeare has startled you with an image; but Shakespeare will not startle you with any more. But imagine what it would be to live with such men still living, to know that Plato might break out with an original lecture to-morrow, or that at any moment Shakespeare might shatter everything with a single song. The man who lives in contact with what he believes to be a living Church is a man always expecting to meet Plato and Shakespeare to-morrow at breakfast.

– From “Authority and the Adventurer” in Orthodoxy the Romance of Faith

CHRIST IS RISEN!!

MARILYN R. GARDNER

I love eating breakfast out at restaurants. Perhaps it’s because I rarely do it, but when I do, it’s always a vacation feel – a sense of the unexpected.

Israel, Sea of Galilee (Lake of Tiberias)

So it was with new eyes that I read the line “Come have breakfast” in the gospel of John.

The verse comes after Jesus has been crucified and has risen, appearing to different people. First he is seen by Mary, then by the disciples and finally by others. He’s on the banks of the Sea of Galilee watching the disciples fishing in a boat on the sea. They have fished the entire night and they’ve caught nothing. Their nets and stomachs are empty. But this man on the banks of the sea tells them “Just try it one more time.”

Just one more time.

So they do it. Weary, frustrated, hungry – they still try one more time. And the result does…

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